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SPL club trial 'pay what you can' ticket scheme in an attempt to address dwindling crowds

Could League of Ireland clubs do something similar?

Fans at Tulloch Stadium can pay whatever they like for the next game.
Fans at Tulloch Stadium can pay whatever they like for the next game.
Image: Jeff Holmes

IT’S A PERPETUAL problem for most clubs around the world but Inverness Caledonian Thistle have come up with a novel way of tackling dwindling attendances.

Premier League sides, in particular, are often criticised for inordinate ticket prices but Inverness are set to trial a ‘pay what you can’ deal for their next home game against St Johnstone.

The SPL club, who are in their 20th year of existence, have an average attendance of a little under 4,000 this season but they are hoping this scheme will broaden their fan base and entice more supporters, particularity families, to attend games.

“These are difficult times for football supporters and we’ve been applying considerable thought as to how to help,” club chairman Kenny Cameron said.

“We do not have the supporter base of some of the older clubs but will continue to work hard with the Highland community and beyond to turn this around.

“We often hear in the press that games in Scotland are over priced and if prices were slashed crowds would increase dramatically, well this is certainly an opportunity to dip our toes in the water and see if this is really the case.”

The derby fixture against Ross County in October saw just 3,741 fans turn up, the lowest attendance for that game in a decade.

There has been no minimum price set for the match on 20 January and both home and away fans can avail of the scheme. Furthermore, Inverness will introduce another scheme later in the month whereby children under the age of 12 gain free entry with a paying adult.

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Last year, Scottish League Two side Albion Rovers piloted a similar ‘pay what you can’ scheme and the initiative was a resounding success with a 125% increase in attendance figures and a 165% increase in club shop, cafe and other match day revenue.

With the new Airtricity League season not far away, League of Ireland clubs should seriously consider such a ticketing strategy. While fans may be able to pay as little as they want for a ticket, the additional money spent on food and merchandise would offset any revenue lost at the turnstiles.

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Ryan Bailey

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